Tips & Tricks

Best practices on SOFR, and a few tips that I use when inquiring about a restaurant's cooking oils

  1. When inquiring via phone, try to avoid calling during the busy lunch or dinner rush. Same goes for visiting in person unless you're planning to dine in, in which case you can just ask your server

  2. Servers are generally more informed than hosts, especially at nicer places. The best information I've gotten is often at the table right after the server gives the general "first-timer" spiel about the restaurant

  3. Often the kitchen will use a vegetable oil by default but can make a substitution in your dish for butter or another animal fat. If they are able to make a substitution for your particular dish, you can note that in a post on SOFR. If they aren't able to sub it out, you should definitely post that on SOFR

  4. The person you're asking probably won't know which oils qualify as a "seed" or "vegetable" oil, so I like to just ask which oils or fats are used in the kitchen

  5. Generally, the more specific the information, the more helpful it is, since there may be different oils used for the fryer, sauteed dishes, dressings, etc. If you only have information about the fryer, say, or one particular dish, that is still very helpful and you can include just that info in a post on SOFR

  6. If I'm told that the fryer uses beef tallow (or any animal fat), I always follow up with, "Is that 100% beef tallow (or whichever animal fat), or some kind of blend?" You'd be surprised that restaurants will claim the fryer is "beef tallow" when it's actually a tallow/canola oil blend. This goes for olive oil too - very often blended but represented as pure. Asking that follow up question can help others avoid that "gotcha" situation